According to your court order, your child was scheduled to spend the holidays with you this year, so you planned a big celebration. However, your child’s other parent failed to comply and took the child out of town to visit family during your planned celebration. What can you do next to ensure this never happens again?
What Steps Can I Take to Enforce My Visitation Rights?
The first thing to remember is that you must remain calm and reasonable, no matter how angry and disappointed you are. Immediately document the time and date that your child’s other parent failed to comply with the court order, and write down what exactly happened. If there are witnesses, write down their names and contact information.
You should take this information to an experienced family law attorney right away. Your attorney will then petition the family court to force the other parent to comply with the court order.
What Will the Court Do?
The other parent has a right to a full hearing where they can present a defense to the allegations. If the other parent doesn’t believe he or she is in violation of a custody order, he or she will attempt to prove that to the court by presenting evidence and questioning witnesses. The other parent may also argue that he or she was acting in the best interests of the child when violating the court order.
Family court judges have wide discretion in enforcing court orders, and they will always have the best interest of the child in mind. For this reason, you must try not to appear vindictive and show how the other parent’s refusal to abide by the court order was not in the best interest of the child.
Contempt of Court
If your child’s other parent violated a court order, he or she could be held in contempt of court. According to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1218(a), if a party is in contempt of court, the punishment could include a $1,000 fine and five days in jail.
In addition to the above penalties, the parent found in contempt can be ordered to pay any expenses connected to filing the action, including court costs and attorney’s fees.
Can My Court Orders Be Changed?
If your child’s other parent violated a court order, you could file a request that the court modify the prior court order. If the court believes that it is in the child’s best interest to change the court order, he or she may be willing to provide you with additional custody time with your child. In rare cases, the court could only permit the parent who violated the court order to see the child with a court-approved monitor.
Contact a Child Custody Attorney at Wallin & Klarich
You should contact an experienced child custody attorney immediately in order to ensure that you are taking all the steps you need to take to resolve this issue. The family law attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully handling child custody and visitation matters. We know this is difficult time for you, and that’s why we are here to help.
With offices located in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced family law attorney available near you no matter where you live or work.
Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.